Department denies putting pressure on schools

2012-10-30 12:00

Reports that Gauteng schools are being pressured into taking on more pupils than they can accommodate are untrue, the provincial education department has said.

“Suggestions that schools in some parts of the province might be coerced into taking more pupils than they are able to accommodate are devoid of any truth whatsoever,” the department said in a statement today.

Department spokesperson Charles Phahlane said the department was working with school governing bodies to find ways of accommodating additional pupils.

The schools would not be forced to accept more pupils than their individual capacities allowed.

Earlier, Joburg daily, The Star, reported that schools in the city’s north were told to increase their class sizes in 2013 to accommodate pupils who had not been placed.

Principals said they were told they had to meet the national standard of 40 pupils a class for primary schools and 35 pupils a class in high schools.

Principals met the education department three times last week to discuss the higher pupil ratios.

Kathy Callaghan, the secretary of the Governor’s Alliance, a school governing body organisation, told The Star she attended one of the meetings and believed the department was trying to intimidate schools.

She said a problem with insisting on a ratio was that schools were of different sizes.

Democratic Alliance education spokesperson Khume Ramulifo told the newspaper the department was trying to get more pupils into schools.

“We are saying that if you want to increase class size, then provide those schools with facilities, textbooks, because all you are doing is putting pressure on teachers,” he said.

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